2. Muammar Gadhafi (27 years old), Libya
Muammar Gadhafi was born to poor Bedouin parents in a village near the town of Sirte. He embraced Arab nationalism while schooling in Sabha and would later enroll at the Royal Military Academy in Benghazi.
Col. Gadhafi became Libya’s leader, after he led a group of army revolutionaries to seize power in a military coup on September 1, 1969.
After he seized power, he proclaimed Libya a republic, ejected western colonialists, and strengthened ties with other Arab nationalist governments.
Fiery and confrontational, he was constantly at loggerheads with Western governments. Gaddafi would later unsuccessfully advocate for a Pan-Arab political union. Following the failure of his Pan-Arab union, he turned his attention to Africa and became one of the biggest supporters of the African Union project.